Convert Messy Kitchen Cabinets Into Useful Drawers - A How To Guide

David McIntosh
by David McIntosh
10 Materials
8 Hours
My wife and I loved the other project we did ( This one) that I decided to expend it to other parts of the kitchen!
We all Have this... A terrible messy lower cabinet that seems to just fill to the brim with everything! What a mess. We can fix this.

In this project we will be replacing existing lower cabinets with drawers.

Start by taking off the doors and the divider. The 2 1/2inch divider was simply held together with pocket screws, two on the top and bottom each. I simply had to break the paint seal and they came off without any issue.
We will need 4 drawers, so I start with cutting all the sides and the bottoms.
Time to assemble each of the boxes.
Basic but joints held together with glue and some screws.
A bottom finishes the box. Now we make 3 more for a total of 4.
The face frame on the sides leaves you with a gap.... so to fill the gap and provide a solid mounting surface, I simply added a 3/4 inch piece of plywood. This also helps transfer the weight of the drawers down the plywood to the base and not depend on the thin cabinet walls.

I mounted the full extension drawer glides to the wood first, then simply brad nailed them in place. On a few I had to shim them out slightly to make them flush with the face frame. I ripped a thin piece of hardwood to do the shimming.

The glides are rated for 100 lbs each, so I am confident they will hold up well.

We start adding the drawers in...
All the drawers are in... I even made a "secret pull out drawer within a drawer" to put silver ware and other items.
Here they are all pulled out... Some shelf liners are added as well to the bottoms.
Now you COULD simply add the doors back on and call this project done, but you would then have to open both doors every time you want to pull open a drawer. It is up to you.... I decided to build some drawer faces.

Because I went with drawer faces... I added a cross bar in the middle to provide a faceframe in the middle. A small piece of hardwood wood between the drawers to give a place for the faces to close over using pocket holes on the back.

For the drawer faces...
 I took a two 6 foot poplar hard wood boards 3/4 inch think... They were 11 1/4 inch wide... I cut them to length and height... then routed the edges to make them match the rest of the kitchen cabinets.

I pre-drilled with drawer pull holes. These holes will help us mount them. You can see here I put some screws in those holes to make them perfectly aligned.
After I secure them form the inside... I then drill through to add the drawer pull handles.
Final with the knobs on and all the drawer faces in place.

We found that e LOVE drawers. So much more efficient than the cabinets stuffed with everything.
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Frequently asked questions
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3 of 26 questions
  • I also turned all my lower cabs into drawers and love it! The worse cabinet is the blind one I couldn't do anything about, who can up with this on your knees design?

  • Cgo8733693 Cgo8733693 on Aug 03, 2017

    How did you remove the strip of wood where the 2 doors met ?( 1st photo)

  • Margie Hood Margie Hood on Feb 01, 2018

    i so want to do this but i want to keep the cabinets over the drawers...i would just have to buy a wider cabinet for that fix ..yes??

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3 of 170 comments
  • Beatrice Tangeman Beatrice Tangeman on Nov 28, 2018

    Perfect! Thanks for posting (:

  • Olga dawson Olga dawson on Apr 30, 2021

    The best project I’ve seen so far!!! Many thanks for sharing! I will copy this. Your hands must be golden

    • David McIntosh David McIntosh on Apr 30, 2021

      Thanks... you might like some of my other work then... I made a few other different pull out drawers in other projects.